Council reorganisation responses queried

Council leaders opposed to local government reorganisation in Norfolk have written to the Boundary Committee demanding to know if responses to the recent public consultation have gone astray.

Council leaders opposed to local government reorganisation in Norfolk have written to the Boundary Committee demanding to know if responses to the recent public consultation have gone astray.

Last week, committee officials said they had received more than 4,000 responses from Norfolk - but by yesterday the total number of responses on the committee's website totalled fewer than 2,000.

John Fuller, South Norfolk Council leader, said: “I can't believe the committee would deliberately lie about the number of responses it received, so where are the lost responses? The five district councils in Norfolk fighting against the committee's draft proposals to establish one or more unitary authorities in the county have today written to the committee demanding to know where the missing responses are and when the committee will publish them.”

But the committee insisted every response received was read, scanned and published on the website - claiming that 4,000 was only an estimate and more than 2,000 comments had been received countywide with more arriving every day.

A spokesman said: “There is absolutely no question of data loss and the committee is happy to reassure residents of Norfolk of that.

“We're really grateful thousands of people across Norfolk have taken the time to provide us with so much information, even if it does make our job harder because there's just so much valuable evidence to consider.

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“This has been the biggest response to a consultation that we've ever run.”

The Boundary Committee will give its final advice to the communities and local government secretary Hazel Blears by the end of the year.